Chet Notes Seasonal Seasonal Specials

History of the Cornucopia

November 14, 2017

What is something that comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving? Most likely one of the things you’re thinking of is a cornucopia. Today, the cornucopia is most recognized as a symbol of Thanksgiving and the fall harvest, especially in American culture. What we know today as the cornucopia, also called a Horn of Plenty, is a large, horn shaped wicker basket bursting with fruits, vegetables, flowers, grains and other items. It is commonly used to decorate the home during the fall season, like what we offer here at Chester’s.

The name cornucopia comes from two Latin names, “cornu” for horn and “copia” plenty, hence the common name “Horn of Plenty.”

Today they’re most commonly associated with Thanksgiving and the connection between the first settlers of America and the Native cultures. However, cornucopias have a rich history, dating back centuries. Originally, the cornucopia was made from real goat’s horn and filled with fruits and grains. They have been depicted in ancient art and used as decorations for centuries.  For instance, the horn of plenty has made appearances in artworks with Ceres/Demeter, the goddess of agriculture and grains.

The cornucopia has also been portrayed in Greek mythology.  In one Greek myth, Zeus was sent to hide in a cave so his cannibal father couldn’t eat him. While hiding out in the cave, a goat named Amalthea watched over Zeus and as she was nursing him, he accidentally broke off her horn. To make it up to her, Zeus promised that the horn would always be filled with whatever her heart desired. Greeks came to associate the horn with fertility, good fortune and abundance. (Source: http://www.growerdirect.com/history-of-the-cornucopia)

As Thanksgiving is a celebration of the fall harvest and abundance of wealth provided by Mother Nature, the cornucopia is often displayed as a Thanksgiving table centerpiece.  Chester’s carries cornucopias filled with fresh seasonal flowers during the fall months, featured in the month of November for your Thanksgiving table.

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